I would like to consider myself someone who enjoys many things, however, horticulture is a topic I have not had the chance to explore. I do not have a garden, I haven't taken any classes regarding plants, and my family is not involved in any occupation involving agriculture. On Tuesday morning, the horticulture class had the privilege of meeting Mr. Gabriello Menci. Not only was he hospitable, lively, and artistically talented, but I would also consider him a master gardener. His backyard was strategically landscaped into a beautiful maze of homegrown cherries, strawberries, artichokes, grapes and much more. He is not only able to enjoy the colorful scenery that paints a backdrop in the sky behind his house, but cultivate the land below it as well.
Mr. Menci discussed the importance of having a garden. He explained how he and his wife are able to grow their own food, providing a healthier, sustainable, and cost efficient lifestyle. Before this trek down the hill from the Study Center, I had considered a garden to have the capacity to achieve all of these things. But then, Gabriello allowed us to taste the food. My fellow students and I handpicked strawberries, beans, and sweet peas - and let me tell you, they tasted absolutely wonderful. I don't know why I was so surprised by this simple realization, but I was.
Being a Biomedical Sciences major, I enjoy and promote a healthy lifestyle. The food that Mr. Menci's family grows is the healthy, non GMO, fresh choice, AND it tastes just as good, if not better then what a normal consumer would be able to purchase at their local grocery store. Another advantage to growing one's own garden is it encourages the person to make and spend more time outside in the fresh air. Gabriello has clearly spent hours outside tending to his plants. We works diligently and with much labor preparing the soil, applying fertilizer, and harvesting his food.
From my visit to this wonderful Italian home, I can confidently say that I have been convinced of the health benefits (exercise and tasty nutrient-denser foods), cost effectiveness, and absolutely joy, pride, and accomplishment that comes from gardening. Ultimately, someday, I would love to visit Gabriello again and discuss with him the successes I've seen with a garden of my own.